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Gin Rummy Rules And How To Play

Gin Rummy was basically invented to establish a quicker version of basic Rummy. The rules are fairly simple and easy to learn and understand, it's just a matter of draw and discard and does not possess any additional complexity like displaying melds or laying off cards between turns. While playing Gin Rummy, both of these things are done at the end of a hand and is often played without any kind of laying off to enable a speedy and fast paced game. The rules even though written originally for offline play, they also apply to Online Gin Rummy.

 

Due to the high amount of skill involved in Gin Rummy, it is immensely popular when compared to other casino card games like Blackjack and Poker. In Gin Rummy, a player plays with 10 cards which have to be formed into different melds (runs and/or sets). Below are three examples of fully melded Gin Rummy hands.

 

 

Players & Deck - Gin Rummy was predominantly played among two players, although the variation also allows the game to be played among four players. The complete deck i.e. 52 cards are used and there are no wild cards, or trump cards. Each player takes a turn in being the dealer.

 

The Deal - The player dealing the cards, deals ten cards to each player. After this, the next card from the deck is placed face up - indicating the start of the Discard Pile. The rest of the cards from the deck are placed face down and is termed as the Stock Pile.

Number of players Number of cards dealt
2 Players 10 cards each
3+ Players 10 cards each

 

Object of the Game

The main objective of the game is to complete the hand which consists of all the cards and form them into Sets and/or Runs. A Run is a sequence of cards that comprises of three or more cards that possess the same suit and are in consecutive order.

Example of a Valid Run Example of an Invalid Run
     
         

 

A Set, however, is a group of three or four cards that are of identical ranks and obviously of different suits. For Example:

Example of a Valid Set Example of an Invalid Set
     
      

 

One thing that should be kept in mind is that a particular card can be only used once – in a Set or in a Run. A player cannot use the same card to create a Run as well as a Set.

 

How Gin Rummy is Played

Now that you're aware of the rules of Gin Rummy, let's get into how the game is played. There are two key elements that need to be observed during a single turn of a player - the draw and the discard.

 

Drawing (Compulsory) - The first player to draw a card must either choose from the Discard Pile or the Stock Pile. The player takes just one single card from either pile and adds the card to the 10 cards that comprise of his hand. As the discard pile is kept face up, if the player chooses to pick a card from it, the other players are aware of the card he chose.

However, if the player chooses to pick a card from the Stock Pile, the opponents won't be able to see his card as the Stock Pile is kept face down.

 

Discarding (Compulsory) - He must then take this card out of his collection and put it on the discard pile, face up. The player must discard the card that is of least importance from his collection and place it facing up on the Discard Pile.

According to the official rules of Gin Rummy, players draw in a special way during the first round. The player who did not deal the cards out has first choice. This player can choose to pick the face up card from the Discard Pile. If not, the other player who hasn't dealt has the choice of picking it, if this player doesn't choose to pick it too, the player who hasn't dealt get the first chance to draw a card from the Stock Pile.

 

 

How and When To Knock

While playing Gin Rummy, a player has an option to knock. The game of Gin Rummy ends when a player has formed their 10 cards into melds (Runs or Sets) and lays them down in the designated area or on the table displaying the cards to the opponents while discarding the last card, signaling their victory. According to Gin Rummy rules, a player can only knock if they possess deadwood (unmatched or unmelded cards) that's 10 points or less. For example, a player can knock if his deadwood   as the total value of these cards is 8 points, which is, less than 10 points.

When a player goes out in this manner, it is referred to as Knocking - a gesture that is symbolic to surrendering and announcing victory to the opponent. However, now it is customary to place the final card on the table, face down, to signal victory. The other player should now expose his cards, placing his melds on the table.

 

The player is allowed to take any of their deadwood (unmelded cards) to add to the sets or runs laid down by the Knocker. For example: The player can add a fourth card of the same rank to a Set of three or add consecutive cards of the same suit to either end of a sequence. This particular attribute is known as "Laying Off".

 

How Does Laying Off Come InTO Play

Unlike other Rummy games, where cards can be laid off during players' turns to extend melds which are placed on the table by the player himself or other players. However, in Gin Rummy, players reveal their hand only at the end of the game. Hence, only at the end of a game, a player can lay off cards by extending the sets or runs of the "Knocker" and therefore reducing the deadwood count of cards in his own hand. However, the Knocker himself is never allowed to lay off cards this way.

When To Go "Gin"

Knocking isn’t compulsory, a player can hold out and try to meld all of his cards. If a player manages to do so and has a zero deadwood count (no unmelded cards), then instead of Knocking, the player declares GIN. This player earns a 25 point bonus, plus the deadwood count of his opponent is added to his tally. As in this situation, the player called Gin, so there is no laying off and the other player cannot try to further reduce his deadwood count. Hence, most players hold out and try to meld all their cards in their hand to achieve this big incentive.

What Happens When The Stock Pile Finishes?

If there are only two cards left on the stock pile, the game ends. The player who lifts the third to the last card on the pile discards a card without knocking. In such situations, there is no winner and another round can begin.

Important Notes On Scoring The Game

All Face cards (Jack, Queen, and King) score 10 points. Aces score 1 point. The rest of the deck score the rank as the value (i.e. the pip value). For example, a would be worth six points, a is worth seven points, and so on.

Cards Value Example 1 Example 2
Aces 1 point  is worth 1 point  is worth 1 point
Faces 10 points  is worth 10 points  is worth 10 points
Others Pip value  is worth 5 points  is worth 7 points

 

In Gin Rummy, Ace are low and rank in the following order: A 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K. One thing to be aware of is since the Ace is always low in Gin Rummy, a sequence like,    is a valid sequence but    is not and nor is   .

Knock Scoring - Each player will have to tally up the value of their unmatched or deadwood cards. If the knocker has a lower count, he scores the difference between the two counts (each of their deadwood counts).

Undercut Scoring - If the Knockers deadwood tally is equal to or is higher than his opponent, this means the knocker has been "undercut”. The opponent scores the difference between the two counts and also receives a bonus of 25 points.

Gin Scoring - A player who calls out Gin scores a bonus 25 points, in addition he also scores the opponent's deadwood count, if any. Also, a player that goes Gin can never be undercut. Even if the other player possess no deadwood, the player who calls Gin gets the 25 point bonus while the other players score nothing.

Game Bonus – The game goes on and players keep dealing the cards for subsequent hands until a player reaches a score of 100 or any other designated (pre-agreed) target score. Also, the first player to reach a score of 100 points receives a "game bonus" of 100 points.

Line Bonus – While playing Gin Rummy, for every hand won, a player earns a 20 point. Also known as the line bonus or a box bonus. However, these are not counted towards the 100 points required to win a game of Gin Rummy.

 

Note that for the online game, it is not absolutely essential to read the next two sections, which are designed to explain scoring for offline play and variations on the standard rules which may be introduced into the game offline.

How To Use a Score Sheet

You can see from the example score sheet (below, left) that the points from each hand are added to the previous score so that a cumulative total is always shown. We have a "Score Sheet Guide" (below, right) to help you understand how to keep score, to see how scores and bonuses are applied and to see how scoring is recorded for each round. We have pencilled onto the score sheet after certain scores to help you identify what each item represents. In the example below, you can see that A reaches 115 points bringing his total to over 100 points and therefore A wins the game and scores a 100 point game bonus. A won 6 hands (2 by way of undercut) and scores a line bonus (6 x 20) of 120 points. B won 3 hands and scores a line bonus (3 x 20) of 60 points. The score of B (131) is then deducted from the score of A (335) bringing A's final score to 204 points.

Score Sheet
Player A Player B
15 12
27 61
31 71 (Total)
58  
88  
115 (Total)  
100 (Game)  
120 (Line) 60 (Line)
335 (A Score)
- 131 (B Score)
 
204  
Score Sheet Guide
Hand Hand Activity Scoring
Hand 1
A knocks with 6
B has 21 deadwood
A scores 15
Hand 2
A knocks with 2
B has 14 deadwood
A scores 12 and now has 27
Hand 3
B knocks with 5
A has 17 deadwood
B scores 12
Hand 4
B goes gin
A has 24 deadwood
B scores 24 plus 25 (gin) and now has 61
Hand 5
A knocks with 3
B has 7 deadwood
A scores 4 and now has 31
Hand 6
B knocks with 6
A has 4 deadwood
A scores 2 plus 25 (undercut), has 58
Hand 7
A goes gin
B has 5 deadwood
A scores 5 plus 25 (gin), now has 88
Hand 8
B knocks with 1
A has 11 deadwood
B scores 10 and now has 71
Hand 9
B knocks with 5
A has 3 deadwood
A scores 2, plus 25 for undercut, has 115*
*This brings A's score over 100 and the game ends.
A now scores the game bonus ( 100 pts) and 6 line bonuses of 20 points each ( 120 pts) to total335. B's final score ( 131 pts) is deducted from this leaving A with a final winning score of 204 points.
Jin Rummy Score SheetHand 9